After 31 days and 30 nights in the Florida State Capitol, the Dream Defenders ended our peaceful sit-in of Governor Rick Scott’s office. Although we have left the Capitol, we are not leaving the fight.
We came to the Capitol more than a month ago to demand that Florida’s political leadership deal with the circumstances that lead to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
We developed our own legislative proposal,Trayvon’s Law, to reform Stand Your Ground, end the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and ban racial profiling. We are proud to inform you that we were able to secure processes for moving forward on each issue:
· After originally denying the request, Speaker of the House, Will Weatherford, called for a Subcommittee to host hearings on ‘Stand Your Ground’ in the fall.
· The heads of the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice will discuss strategies for dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
· The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has agreed to discuss racial profiling policies with experts in the field who will testify before the Department.
· Portions of Trayvon’s Law have been introduced and State Senators will consider the legislation through briefings and conferences in the fall.
· In addition to having that bill filed, we triggered a legislative poll, a head count to see where legislators stand on the issue. Now we know which legislatures to focus our energy on.
We are very proud of these successes but we will not stop until we change the reality for young people in Florida. One of the reasons we chose to leave the Capitol when we did was to build our movement around the state. As we return to our campuses and communities, we will be working to involve more people in calling for Trayvon’s Law. We will continue to pressure the Governor and Legislature to take action in the lead up to the hearing and meeting that will be happening during the last week of September. In addition we have announced our plans for a massive voter registration drive to engage young people around the state in the political process in a way that won’t allow politicians to ignore them.
We are proud of what we accomplished in the Capitol. Thousands of people joined our struggle in-person and online. We held our own legislative session, to help explain the issues addressed in Trayvon’s Law and demonstrate the kind of leadership we need. We were joined by many allies from around the country including Harry Belafonte, Jesse Jackson, Talib Kweli, and Julian Bond. We learned a lot in the process and are more ready than ever to win.
We hope you will join us in the next stage of our struggle to end the criminalization of young people in Florida. Click the link below to let us know that you’re in for the long haul like we are.
Be sure to check out the video and articles below to learn more about our exit from the Capitol.